CMFR PROTESTS FILM BAN, URGES REVIEW OF CENSORSHIP LAW
The power to ban films in the Philippines derives from an "archaic law", PD 1986, that created the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), says CMFR. The law came into force in 1985 during the dictatorship of President Ferdinand Marcos. According to CMFR, the law's primary purpose was to prevent the public from seeing films and television programmes with "subversive" themes. The law gives both the Board and the President the power to ban films.
In recent years, PD 1986 has generated a number of controversies, among them a ban on Martin Scorsese's film "The Last Temptation of Christ" and an attempt to ban "Schindler's List" by Steven Spielberg. CMFR notes that media advocacy, artists' and film makers' groups have called for the law to be repealed, and proposed replacing the MTRCB with a self-regulatory body composed of individuals from the film industry, civil society, and academia. The proposed body would classify films and "protect minors from viewing films they cannot yet appreciate", but have no censorship powers, says CMFR. The organisation believes the proposal deserves serious study, adding that the existing law needs to be replaced with a better one. CMFR also expresses concern over the precedent set by church intervention in state matters in the case of "Live Show". For more information, visit http://www.cmfr.com.ph.